Kicking off his partys campaign in the south,Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi borrowed US president Barack Obamas poll campaign slogan with a slight variation. Yes,we can. Yes,we will do, he said. He also made the 90,000-strong crowd chant Jai Telangana and Jai Seemandhra in the same breath.
In what is being seen as an effort to woo the TDP,Modi praised legendary actor and party founder N T Rama Rao. The biggest tribute to him would be a Congress-free India because it was NTR who first engineered a non-Congress government. The TDP must ensure that he gets his due, he said.
Modi opened his speech by reading a few lines in Telugu,and then switched to Hindi. Launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,he said,When our soldiers were beheaded by Pakistani forces some time back,the PM assured this country that such an incident would never occur again and would not be tolerated.
But what happened? Five of our jawans have been killed and we dont respond. China comes into our border and occupies land. What do we do? We make deals with China by withdrawing from our own land. I ask the PM what is happening in this country? Why are we so soft?
He said it is shameful that the external affairs minister,despite the repeated incursions by China,went to Beijing and praised the city,going to the extent of saying that he wished he could stay there.
Modi also raised the issue of the two Italian marines,saying that it was only when the Supreme Court took a tough stand that the marines returned.
Why am I saying all this to you? The UPA and Congress are not serious about anything. They simply do not care about this country and its public, he said. Are you concerned about India? I am concerned about what will happen to the youth of India.
On the issue of Telangana,Modi tried to placate both regions. When Chhattisgarh was formed,there were celebrations in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. When Jharkhand was formed,they distributed sweets in Jharkhand and Bihar. Same in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. What has happened here? The Congress has turned brother against brother. The BJP has always been in favour of Telangana. For us,Telangana is as important as Seemandhra… In Surat,there are nearly six lakh Telugus and in Ahmedabad there are about four lakh. We all work hard and live in peace and harmony. My appeal to people of Telangana and Seemandhra is no matter what games the Congress plays with you,dont fight among yourselves.
Stressing on India First when it comes to development,Modi attacked the food security Bill. After taking away roti from the poor,the Congress now thinks of food security. This is what they have done to the poor of this country… For the past few years,we have been hearing the term inclusive growth. Why now? Why not earlier,during all the five-year plans? It is because for the past 60 years,the Congress has excluded everyone from development and growth. The Congress party has become a burden on all, he said.
Meanwhile,the party is reported to have raised about Rs 8 lakh from todays meeting. The BJP had earlier decided to charge Rs 5 per person as registration fee.